While the Acer Aspire One and other netbooks are small enough to take just about anywhere, the problem is that WiFi isn’t usually available unless you’re at a hotel or coffee shop or a place that specifically provides it. Almost 80% of the time that I’m using my AAO, I’m on the web, or at least using something on the network, like chat or FTP, so without wireless access, the netbook is somewhat pointless.
I have an iPhone which is great for looking up directions or checking movie times, but the Safari browser is pretty limited, and it’s inability to render Flash makes so much of the web inaccessable. But now there’s a way to get the most out of your iPhone’s network and your netbook’s power: tether them.
Now this is something that’s frowned upon by mobile carriers, because you can obviously use quite a bit more data if you’re browsing the web on a full-fledged computer. I’ve heard reports that your “unlimited data plan” is actually about 5GB, and I’ve also heard of people staying under the 5GB and still getting a warning from their carrier that they aren’t allowed to tether (not sure how they’d know). In any case use this at your own risk.
Since tethering isn’t officially permitted on the iPhone data plan, there are no official apps to support it. Netshare was available for a little while and was quickly pulled for violating its contract with the carrier. So if you want to tether, you’re going to have to jailbreak your iPhone. I won’t go into detail about the jailbreaking process, but a quick search on the web would leave you with all the info you need. Through Cydia (which will be installed after you’ve jailbroken), download an application called PDAnet. This program will make your iPhone act as a wireless router. You don’t need to install any applications on your netbook, just set up an adhoc wireless network on your netbook and then connect to it on your iPhone through Settings > WiFi. That’s it! You’re surfing the web on your netbook through your iPhone. The PDAnet application also shows how much data you’ve transfered and received so you can keep an eye on your usage. Happy surfing!